Durand, Michigan: Circus Train Wreck Memorial

An obelisk in Lovejoy Cemetery memorializes the humans killed when two circus trains collided in 1903.

Lovejoy Cemetery

Address:
Prior Road, Durand, MI
Directions:
In Lovejoy Cemetery. Two miles south of town on Oak St./Durand Rd, then a half-mile west on Prior Road, south side.
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Railroad Wreck of the Great Wallace Shows.

Circus Train Wreck Memorial

The railroad wreck memorial obelisk is directly on your left as you enter Lovejoy Cemetery. The Cemetery sits on a hill on the south side of the road.

[Debra, 08/06/2020]

Circus Train Wreck Memorial.

Circus Train Wreck Memorial

The letters on the monument are fading but are still legible. Look for the obelisk on your left as you enter the cemetery.

[GTAirstream, 03/31/2016]
Great Circus Train Wreck Display

If you go to the Durand Union Station (200 Railroad St.), there is a section about the Wallace Circus train wreck. DUSI is the former home of the Grand Trunk Railroad. Tour the depot and learn of the history.

[pete probst jr, 07/07/2015]
Circus Train Wreck

My grandmother's father worked for the railroad in Durand when the Circus Train accident happened; we wrote about it in her family biography: "One time, in the middle of the night, my father woke us all up by saying 'those trains are going to crash' we heard the crash and heard him running from the house. Two trains from the barnham and bailey circus were running too close to each other, as they approached the station in Durand, someone was negligent and gave no signal to the engineers that they were too close to each other. Dad heard no signal so they crashed and he knew they would."

"About 40 circus people were killed as they slept in their Pullman cars. All the animals were killed and buried on the railroad right-of-way, leaving great mounds over the graves. The circus people that could not be identified were buried in a little county cemetery, and the grave markers said only 'Barnum and Bailey Circus' and the date." -Bernice Cooney Lewis 1895-1983

[pamela lewis peck, 02/04/2006]
Circus Train Wreck

There are also a few small gravemarkers of individuals with the words "Unknown." This cemetery is 1/2 mile east of my folks and where I grew up. Also, an elephant was killed in this crash, but because of its size, it was buried next to the train tracks at the site of the crash.

[Karla Macelli, 01/29/2004]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Knights Templar Train WreckKnights Templar Train Wreck, Durand, MI - 2 mi.
Graveside Monument to Mr. Jefferson NickelGraveside Monument to Mr. Jefferson Nickel, Owosso, MI - 12 mi.
Ice Cream Cone-Shaped BuildingIce Cream Cone-Shaped Building, Perry, MI - 12 mi.
In the region:
Ike's Train Car of Terror, Onsted, MI - 57 mi.

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